Thursday, 9 October 2014

A Framework for Parents to Register as Childminders of Own Children

As more funds are directed towards subsidising childcare, what is to happen for parents who wish to bring up their own children at ages 0-3 ?

This is still the choice for many, and many of those parents do so because they believe it is right and make financial sacrifices. Others choose it because they want to enjoy rearing their own children and wish to take a few years out from their career. After all, a working life can be over 40 years so why not take a few years out ?  And others would like to have the chance to do this yet can't afford to take the time off work.

Other parents decide they want to stay in their career and prefer to hand over the care of their young ones at age 0-3 to a qualified childminder or to a nursery.

Now, before everyone thinks what I am about to say is outrageous, lets not forget that children still need a carer. If you go to work, the child is cared for. There is a worker and a carer.  If you stay at home, you are the carer, but the person who might have been paid to care for your child is perhaps free to take up a job in the wider labour market. If you have three young children, it probably balances out about the same effect overall whether you work or care for your own children. It still takes two people to do the job plus the childcare !

So, my argument is, why not have a subsidy for a family with a young child age 0-3 and it can either be used to cover nursery fees or else to subsidise a parent who wishes to do the child rearing themselves.

This could be organised in a informal framework and if parents are to receive a subsidy they should be required to show at least that they are getting involved in the following types of activities, perhaps not in quite as strictly monitored a way as is required for a childminder, but still to make sure that there will be positive outcomes for the children and in fact this should also be beneficial for the parents as I will discuss further on. So the types of activities the parents would be required to get involved in could include :
  • taking their children to various activities such as baby and toddler groups, playgroup and swimming classes. (all of which usually cost money, hence the tie-in with funding)
  • Taking part in some small amounts of training such as basic First Aid for children (which was provided in my case post-natally and was excellent) and Triple P Parenting classes which show you how to do positive behaviour techniques, so avoiding having to resort to such things as physical punishment etc. (this was provided as training for parents if they wished at our local school nursery).  This already does happen in post-natal support groups and education of parents via some school nurseries but it would be nice to record such training.
  • taking short online modules in child psychology, health, nutrition and behaviour lcould be taken or post natal support classes at health centres could run short sessions on these as currently happens, but in this case attendance could be recorded.

Placing the whole thing in a slightly formal framework could actually lead to parents having a basic childcare qualification at the end of the three years of parenting, and this could even lead to enhanced job opportunities at the end of the process.  It could also eventually lead to there being more childminders in the system, which is particularly needed in rural areas and in areas where childcare services are already stretched to the limit.
If the parent takes part in this process and has registered as a childcarer then they would have access to the funding that all children are entitled to for their childcare.

Why Not !!?

I phoned in to a radio phone in to make this very point, and someone else phoned in to reply "why should parents be paid to stay at home ?". Yes you might agree when it is stated like that. But child-rearing should involve much more than "staying at home". It is usually the very opposite to that and involves being very much out in the community and meeting other people, learning new skills and learning how to generally get on with other people. You might have your first experience of running a toddler group or being on a playgroup committee and dealing with accounts etc. Personally I ended up as a representative on a community council for the first time. These are all worthwhile experiences. And you learn how to entertain groups of children - a very useful skill if you do decide to make a career of it afterwards !
But more than that its fun !
And that is what is sad about the current arguments - certainly no-one dares to say that now.

But come on folks, from a purely logical point of view - Why can a Parent not be a Childminder ?


And an additional question to the SNP in Scotland - Why Not ?
Can you really disagree with anything I have said ? Would this not lead to a better and more secure future for Scotland's children ? And give parents the freedom to have control how they run their families ?  Freedom, Choice, Future - these are all things I would like to see in Scotland and elsewhere.